I have been thinking about writing this article for a long time and I apologise in advance if it offends anyone’s sense of right and wrong, but it cannot be ignored, especially if you advise and consult on selling worldwide as I do.
What’s in it for me?
Now depending on the intention of the person who asks that question, you either have a perceived value proposition to resolve or a moral one.
Let’s start with the latter and the moral issue – the person asking the question is looking for something in the deal that will literally benefit them personally as opposed to their company.
The “backhander”, the “bribe”, the “kickback”, the “sweetener”, the “rake-off” call it what you like, it’s the one moral dilemma which at some point has pervaded a sales persons life and one which we have all sweated over at some point.
So let’s start with some simple home truths which anybody who has been selling for any significant the length of time will relate to.
Have we all done it……..probably!
Have we done it intentionally………..maybe yes, maybe no!
Have we regretted it…….possibly but more likely, no!
Would we do it again…..probably not!
And the final point is the crux of the matter!
I am regularly asked…. “yes Gordon but what if we do everything you have taught us but the client says……”What’s in it for me?
5 simple words which throw your world into chaos! 5 simple words which can make or break your career in selling! 5 simple words which can define you as a person.
Is it fair to be put in this position? NO!
Is it to be expected? YES!
Can I have a career in sales without having to confront this issue? NO
So what to do?
Follow your heart and follow your own sense of right and wrong!
There will be, hopefully, some company policy around this which will make this an easy decision, but if there is not , then it’s down to you to decide based on:
The pressure your company is putting on you to close deals
As a sales person I have never been concerned about the first two – my job in sales is to look after my customers and in doing so, 1 and 2 have never been a problem, so that leaves number three.
If I give this person what they want, how is that going to fit with me as a person.
And in that question, is your answer!
Sales is about instinct, affinity, gut feeling and morality! How can you position yourself as a trusted advisor if you are willing to break every rule on trust by giving your customer a kick-back? You have just proven to your customer that winning a deal is more important than breaking the law! You have just said to your customer that respect for me and my company are not important! You have just said to your customer that everything you said about
So when asked the question, my answer is always the same…….if that’s what it takes to close the deal and you are happy with that and you can morally live with that, then do the deal! But just be aware that the only person who can now win is your customer!
They get a good deal!
They have set a precedence!
They have you just where they want you!
You have lost control of the deal; you have lost control of the customer and you have lost the one thing which customers value above all else…….trust!.
As for the alternative “What’s in it for me?”….well that is simply about you building the value proposition in the customers mind and I’ll leave that for a separate article.
Good selling and keep moral!